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Nov 27, 2023

NTUCB President, “It is outrightly disrespectful.”

A leaked internal memo from Financial Secretary Joseph Waight to Cabinet Secretary Stuart Leslie, dated November fourteenth, has raised the ire of the unions.  The written communication followed up on a previous meeting during which approval was being sought for an increase in the telephone allowance being afforded to all Chief Executive Officers, the Cabinet Secretary, the Financial Secretary, as well as the Solicitor General.  The increase from two hundred and fifty dollars to six hundred dollars, more than doubles the existing stipend, and is set to take effect from the respective dates, “of their soon to be renewed contracts”.  That decision has been met with cold water from the various trade unions, including the B.N.T.U.  On Saturday, the Council of Management of the Belize National Teachers Union wrote to its membership under the heading of longstanding issues.  While the executive highlighted a number of concerns, it was clear to point out the steep increase in telephone allowances for ranking government officials.  On that issue, the B.N.T.U. memo goes on to state, “we are disgusted to learn that the fattened-two-footed-pigs have given themselves another bigger piece of the pie by increasing telephone allowances from two hundred and fifty to six hundred dollars.  This is an insult to our members, who are struggling to make ends meet.  We demand that the government immediately reverse this decision”.  Earlier today, the president of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, an umbrella organization, spoke on the issue during an appearance on Open Your Eyes.


Luke Martinez

Luke Martinez, President, NTUCB

“Workers in the public sector, teachers, police, nurses, people who are working hard, while we continue to sacrifice, we see an approval for telephone allowance to increase more than a hundred percent, from two-fifty to six hundred.  I want to know how could the financial secretary and the cabinet secretary, how they could justify such an injustice.  There’s no justification, no justification.  In BNTU’s press release, the release is a very true statement that while you are setting up your increases, teachers di starve.  It’s a reality, and when teachers starve, the students starve because these teachers help to feed these students at school.  Public officers di starve mi bredda and when public officers starve, everybody starve because public officers spend more money than anybody else in this country.  Over fourteen thousand public officers di starve, while just a few bourgeois are ensuring that they will get a telephone allowance increase.”


Isani Cayetano

“It’s obscene when you think of it.”


Luke Martinez

“It’s obscene.  Everything.  We can’t put a proper adjective to this action, we can’t.  It is outrightly disrespectful, not only to the workers in this country but also to the taxpayers.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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